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Posted on 03-22-2013
At Eagle Animal Hospital, we commonly recommend Subcutaneous Fluid (sq fluids) therapy as part of a treatment for a sick pet. The word subcutaneous means under the skin. Fluids are typically given every couple of days for a chronic disease like Kidney Failure, or just once for a sick pet, that is dehydrated from vomiting, diarrhea, or not eating.
For chronic disease, your pet will need to get sq fluids at home. It will take practice to overcome the hurdle of sticking a needle in your pet. Most pets are cooperative for fluid administration and it is easy to learn. Fluids are given all at once in a "pocket" under the skin and the patient absorbs them gradually. Ultimately, once finished giving the fluids, the affected area of the skin will look like a camel hump that can fall to either side of your pet.
The procedure of sq fluids administration at home is as follows:
Obtain a fluid set through our office. One of our technicians will have the drip set, needle, and fluid bag already connected. Placing your pet on a comfortable work surface or in a basket padded with towels will help. The fluid set should be hanging from a location higher than the level of your pet. A coat hanger can help to hang the top of the fluid bag.
Pick up a handful of skin at the patient's scruff (back of the neck). This area has a sparse population of nerve endings and the needle is likely to hurt the least in this area. The farther toward the tail you go with the needle, the more the patient will feel the stick. Note that a "triangle" is formed in the skin.
Uncap the needle and boldly stick it through the skin right in the center of the triangle. You should feel a slight punch as the thick skin is penetrated. You may relax your grip a bit depending on your confidence that your pet will continue to sit still.
Open the drip set clamp attached to your fluid line and let the prescribed amount of fluid flow in the skin. A small bulge will appear under the patient's skin as fluid accumulates there. If the needle has gone through the skin and out the other side, a stream of fluid will be seen coming from the patient's skin. If this occurs simply pull the needle slightly back toward you but not all the way out so that the needle will again be positioned under the skin. If this is too hard, simply close the drip set clamp and start over.
When the proper amount of fluid has been delivered, close the clamp and withdraw the needle and re-cap it. Make sure you change needles each time you administer the fluids.
Lastly, it is important to make sq fluid administration a positive experience. Give your pet treats, praise and extra TLC before during and after administration. Your pet will be feeling much better as a result!
We will be happy to schedule an appointment to show you how to administer fluids if necessary here at Eagle Animal Hospital.
Written By Harriet Band, Receptionist
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